We laughed. We argued. 
But ‘The Notebook’ wins Chick Flick Madness

The Daily Sentinel’s features writers Melinda Mawdsley, left, and Rachel Sauer, center, present Barbara Lekowicz with a gift basket from Seasons to Follow and movie theater gift cards for winning The Daily Sentinel’s Chick Flick March Madness drawing. The month-long quest to crown the Grand Valley’s favorite chick flick ended with “The Notebook” defeating overall top seed “The Sound of Music.” Melinda and Rachel were excited about the response from the community, as more than 230 brackets were submitted by readers from all over western Colorado and even one from Wyoming.

We’re done! Thanks to everyone who participated in our Chick Flick March Madness bracket challenge. Grand Junction’s Barbara Lekowicz was the winner of a movie-themed gift basket from Seasons to Follow and $50 in movie theater gift cards from us.

However, fellow features writer Rachel Sauer and I think we all won because we got to talk about chick flicks for a month.

Rachel and I received more than 230 brackets from readers in Mesa, Garfield, Delta and Montrose counties, plus one from Wyoming.

Although we weren’t sure what movie would win, we are pleased — albeit a tad surprised — to announce that No. 3-seed “The Notebook” defeated the overall top seed “The Sound of Music” by eight votes.

(No. 4-seed Michigan and No. 4-seed Syracuse made the NCAA Men’s Final Four, which is sort of like a No. 3-seed chick flick winning, right?)

Your Final Four was: “The Sound of Music,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Pretty Woman” and “The Notebook.”

Obviously, there was a slew of you who did NOT have these four movies as your Final Four, including Lekowicz. Neither did we. All we wanted from this project was for our readers to make the chick flick bracket their own. Did you ever! In honor of you, Rachel and I decided to feature some of your stories.

Meet the Chick Flick March Madness drawing winner

Barbara Lekowicz doesn’t work Fridays, so it’s a good day to go to the movies.

“Not every Friday, but I don’t think there’s a month that goes by that I don’t go to a movie,” said Lekowicz, the medical office manager at Plastic Surgery Specialists, P.C.

When the 66-year-old Grand Junction woman found out the prizes for the Chick Flick March Madness bracket challenge were movie passes and a movie-themed gift basket, she HAD to enter.

Lekowicz’ bracket was selected as the winner in a drawing on Tuesday, April 2.

Lekowicz’s bracket was different than most. She was one of six people in the entire challenge to pick “Sweet Home Alabama” as the champion. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon as Melanie Smooter and Josh Lucas as Jake Perry.

“What I particularly liked about that movie is these guys, they were first loves, and I guess that appealed to me,” Lekowicz said.

“These kids were torn apart but always loved each other and found each other in the end.”

Lekowicz “just really wrestled” with some of her decisions, particularly toward the final round.

“What I did when I was filling it out was I would think about that movie and why I liked it. Where was I in my life? What is it about that movie that appealed to me?” she said.

Turns out, Lekowicz found herself drawn to “Sweet Home Alabama,” “The American President,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” before picking her winner. It was hard, but it was fun.

“I love all the Meg Ryan movies. I love them,” Lekowicz said. “They make you feel good.”

Only ‘The Notebook’ will do

Linda Cabler met her first husband, Ray, at the roller rink. She was a teenager and he was so handsome — a blond Tony Curtis just out of the U.S. Marines. He was shy, too: He didn’t kiss her for the first time until they’d been together six months.

She tumbled into love, an innocent, pure, consuming love. Would he call? Did he feel the same way? Her parents probably rolled their eyes.

So, when Cabler, 74, who lives in Grand Junction in a house that looks like a birthday cake, happened upon “The Notebook” on TV a few years ago, it illuminated beloved memories — of an easy, innocent time, of being young and in love, of all the hallmarks and accoutrements of a familiar era.

“And James Garner, of course,” she explained. “I think he’s everybody’s favorite.”

She’s only seen “The Notebook” that one time, but it lingered in her mind. So, when she filled in the Chick Flick March Madness bracket, she voted for “The Notebook.” And only “The Notebook.” Big, highlighted asterisk by it. Written in the spot for the winner between it and “Two Weeks Notice.” And then written once again in the spot for the champion.

She wanted “The Notebook” to win. Why waste time with other movies?

“It just took me back to my teenage years,” she explained. “The easiness and innocence was the same. And then when they were older, his devotion to her when she had dementia, how he made the notebook out and went every day to read it to her. That’s just a wonderful love story.”

— Rachel Sauer

They call themselves 
Chick Flick Divas

The self-titled Chick Flick Divas would like to apologize.

They were loud, maybe too loud, judging by the dirty looks they said they got, but what do you expect when a group of women huddle around a Traders Coffee and Tea table to talk about chick flicks?

“We had so much fun filling this out — remembering all these great movies and reminding each other of the ones we’d forgotten,” read a note the women sent in with their brackets.

Yes, the quartet of Shannon Allen, 61, Pam Gardner, 59, Carol Biskupski, 59, and Penny Frankhouser, 63, submitted more than one bracket. And, yes, they labeled themselves Chick Flick Divas.

They met for two hours March 9, and nearly another hour March 16. After hours of debate, discussion and laughter, the decision came down to “When Harry Met Sally” or “Sleepless in Seattle.”

They couldn’t agree, so they turned in two brackets.

The women first met nearly 30 years ago as co-workers at the Grand Junction Regional Center and became lifelong friends. Now retired, they have seen quite a few of the selections together.

“Children have been raised. Husbands have come and gone, but one thing that we’ve loved to do is go to the movies,” Gardner said.

Right up to the deadline, seriously

Clothing? Check. Shoes? Check. Boarding passes? Check.

Amanda Crysler, 35, had everything for her March vacation when she realized one thing was missing: her chick flick bracket.

“Right before we took off I realized I hadn’t grabbed it,” she said. “I was sitting there, and a woman I recognized from the gym had a copy of ‘The Daily Sentinel.’ I said, ‘If you’re going to toss the Out & About can I have it because the Chick Flick March Madness Bracket is in there.’”

The woman handed it over.

It could be argued no one took more time pondering this bracket than Crysler because no one else wrote us a whole letter detailing just how much time he or she spent pondering this bracket.

Crysler held her bracket right up to the March 22 deadline.

“Yes, I have taken it THAT seriously!” she wrote in her letter.

Crysler filled out the first three rounds in pencil then switched to red ink once she was confident no revisions were necessary. Her Final Four were: “Sleepless in Seattle,” “The Notebook,” “Notting Hill” and “When Harry Met Sally.”

The final decision came down to the drama of “The Notebook” or the comedy of “When Harry met Sally,” She picked “When Harry Met Sally.”

“It’s the quintessential chick flick,” she said. Chick flicks “make me happy. You can watch them over and over again.”

Chick flicks are not for him

Glenn Kiser, 62, isn’t a chick flick fan. When his wife and daughter — who “are always doing chick flicks” —  put one on, Kiser leaves the room or falls asleep, he said.

So, when his wife and daughter filled out their Chick Flick March Madness bracket, Kiser submitted his own bracket. Instead of chick flicks he picked 64 movies men love.

Kiser seeded it and everything, breaking the bracket up into quarters: Western/Comedy, War, Action and Drama/Misc.

“It was easy to pick 64 movies,” Kiser said. “It was hard to seed.”

His Final Four were “Jeremiah Johnson,” “Platoon,” “Dirty Harry” and “Cool Hand Luke.” “Jeremiah Johnson” won.

Kiser jokes with his wife and daughter that “Jeremiah Johnson,” a 1972 Robert Redford film about a mountain man in conflict with Native Americans, is “a chick flick because it teaches women how to non-verbally communicate with their significant other.”

Ultimately, Kiser said he preferred his bracket because he wants less romance and more “classic lines and classic conflict” in his movies.

For details on how Rachel Sauer and Melinda Mawdsley voted in each round, including the final round, visit their Breakfast for Dinner blog at GJSentinel.com.


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